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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Olives and the 4th of July

Today is the fourth of July.  I celebrated by getting up at 6am and heading out to the olive orchards here at the Lutheran World Federation Augusta Victoria Hospital campus.  For lunch I made myself a nice PBJ on pita bread and then went out to the nearest c-store (convenience store) and bought a fruit popsicle and a grape flavored FUZE ice tea to celebrate.   No hot dogs, no watermelon, no fireworks, no mention of the holiday anywhere--just another day on the calendar here in Israel. 

Now what's funny is that tomorrow I'll fly to London and 4th of July is probably just about as popular there as it is here.  Nationalism is a rather modern movement that likes to insist that there is no other nation like our own and that we are somehow special compared to other nations.  And of course I love America and put me down for hotdogs, baseball and apple pie--and these things are certainly unique if not 'special;' but here's the thing--the people of other nations can think this way too.   Last night for example I watched "Arabs got Talent"  which is the same exact show as "Americas got Talent" (Same camera angles behind the curtain, same use of a host and judges and audience, same producers...but it's for Arabs!).   I had a similar experience several years ago when I was in Jericho watching the finales of "Arab Idol" which was the exact same show as "American Idol." 

The sponsors are what I really enjoy watching.  Last night the show was brought to you by "Tide."  What was fun was this particular Tide detergent was being marketed to a group of ladies in Burkas.  Though in Arabic, the commercial was clear, this Tide detergent will keep your black Burkas looking black longer.  And who wants a fading Burka?   Then we had 7UP and my favorite was a commercial featuring a lovely picnic table filled with wonderful Arab families all enjoying the "Simply" brand of juices. 

What's my point?  Maybe that while our countries have different histories, traditions and myths (Our honest Abe is certainly more honest than your "truthful Tom)--and these can and should be celebrated; as people across the planet (with the exception of a few demented ones), we all want Tide to help our fabrics from fading, enjoy fizzy sweet drinks and all aspire to be able to sit with our families at a nice big picnic table drinking our "Simply" lemonade. 

So I raise my Grape FUZE ice tea in celebration of American Independence and with lady liberty remember that all of us come from the same huddled masses.  Cheers, er, I mean Prost, er, I mean Salud, er.... you know what I mean, God bless America and I will be glad next year to celebrate with you.

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